Holiday dinners...guilt from family?

jezama77 Posts: 138 Member
I've been a vegetarian for about twenty years, but recently switched over to eating a whole foods, plant-based diet. My mom is not really thrilled with this change...
Easter is coming up and my mom said something like "Easter is going to be a real bummer over here" (meaning my house). I told her that we'd have to come up with some substitutes of foods that I do eat...
I know that she was thinking about some of those things that we always eat (corn casserole...made with sour cream and margarine, stuffing, mashed potatoes, pie, etc.).

Has anyone dealt with this or maybe is currently dealing with this?

I guess one way to start is to look at our traditional recipes and try to make them 'healthy' with my food options...but I'm not sure what she'll say...

Any input would be great. Thanks in advance! :)


  • tomatini
    tomatini Posts: 61 Member
    Yep, I've dealt with that at family gatherings. If you're hosting the dinner I would do what you said and make "healthy" versions of some classic family dishes. A lot of holiday foods can be lightened up by using almond milk instead of dairy, tofu instead of cream etc. Who is cooking the dinner? If you're cooking part of it, I would just make the lightened up versions of the classic family dishes and not even mention that you've changed up the recipes. Honestly, when some people hear the words "healthy" or "vegan" they cringe, but if they don't know the foods they're eating are "healthy" and "vegan" they just enjoy them as delicious foods.
  • theundead
    theundead Posts: 51 Member
    Not so much as guilt, they understand that my partner and I are vegan but they are still not as cluey as what we can and cannot eat. Even though we have told them and given them ideas. For Christmas they made a salad, and kept offering us to eat it, but it had feta cheese in it, lol.
    Lucky they asked us to bring a dish or we would literally have nothing to eat. The funny thing is they hated it and half of them didn't even try it. Oh well, come prepared I guess.

    So glad my mum is vegan though, makes one family gathering easy.
  • veganlisa
    veganlisa Posts: 50 Member
    I always bring a dish or two to share. This also assures that I will have something to eat! If your mom is making a big deal about it, offer to make the vegan version of one or two dishes and she can make her non-vegan version. It's sad when family isn't supportive. Hopefully they think it's a phase you are going through and be more supportive once they see you are serious about it.
  • speedy001
    speedy001 Posts: 91 Member
    I too will take a couple of dishes one so that there is great food for me and two so that everyone else can enjoy some awesome vegan food
  • Yogi_Carl
    Yogi_Carl Posts: 1,906 Member
    If I bring vegan dishes along to share at family gatherings it is received as an insult to the host's cooking abilities or a criticism of their diet choices. You would think I had forced religious pamphlets on them!

    I am dreading doing the family rounds at Easter.
  • jezama77
    jezama77 Posts: 138 Member
    I'll definitely be making vegan dishes. It's at my house! The problem is that my brother's family has not been coming to family gatherings (doing their own thing or working, he's TSA at the airport...). So, family gatherings are pretty much my hubby, my two girls, my mom, and me. My hubby has been doing plant-based with me on a trial basis and is not ready to move off of it. So, my mom would be making foods like green bean casserole for herself and only one of my girls likes it. It's annoying to make a casserole for just two people! I think I'm going to try to test altering recipes to come up with faux dishes of our favs.

    Any ideas on that?

    Here's what we always eat:
    mashed potatoes (not a problem, should be able to use unsweetened plant milk to mash)
    corn casserole (cross between a corn pudding and corn bread, has sour cream and lots of creamed corn, does that have cream in it?!?)
    green bean casserole
    sweet potatoes (not a problem, we just bake them)
    ham (not a problem, easy to make and my girls and mom can share it, hubby and I will eat a Boca burger or some beans)

    So the problem is not insurmountable, but I have to get creative and my mom has to relax a bit! Haha....
  • kkoltcz
    kkoltcz Posts: 30
    My mom was not so much giving me a hard time as much as expressing her worry that we'd be left out Easter dinner and she has no idea how to cook anything vegan. This is our first holiday with my family since we switched and I'll be away from my pantry/cooking utensils so I'm scared but I just told her I'd cook up a dish or two that we will enjoy and they can try and that we had no problem with them eating what they had planned.
  • Evachiquita
    Evachiquita Posts: 223 Member
    I totally understand! I love food and potlucks but I am often frustrated that when I show up to something there is NOTHING I can eat. Or maybe one other thing beside what I bring. And what I bring is often devoured by vegans and non-vegans. There are so many recipes out there!!!

    So for corn casserole you need something creamy and a little sweet. For example:
    We never really had corn casserole so I don't really have any useful advice on how to make it.

    A couple times I have made a vegan gluten free green bean casserole. Basically I just cooked a ton of mushrooms, onions and garlic. Then thickened it with GF flour and rice milk or something. (I don't use recipes, I just kinda make things up as I go). Now I would probably blend up some soaked cashews and add some nutritional yeast (a few tablespoons or up to 1/4 cup). Maybe 1 1/2 cups of cashews for a 9x13 casserole. Oh, don't forget Braggs or soy sauce for flavor too! Then mix in frozen green beans. For the topping I thinly sliced onions, dipped them in rice milk, then dredged them in corn meal/GF flour mixture and fried them. OMG it was so good, and I had NO leftovers :-/ And trust me ANYTHING you make from scratch beats the hell out of using canned cream of mushroom soup!!

    Find a happy medium. Maybe you could make the normal corn casserole and try a vegan green bean casserole? Then that's only 2 dishes that are not vegan (ham, corn casserole), one that would be pretty different (green beans), and some that are easily altered (mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, rolls).

    Good luck!